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Knowing what students know and can do

VU International News and Reviews No. 22 February 03 2014

December 2018

The American National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment’s published a report this month on the current state of student learning outcomes assessment in the U.S, based on a survey among 1202 institutions (43% response). NILOA conducted a similar survey in 2009;
725 of the 2013 respondents also completed the 2009 survey, allowing for an estimate of the nature and scope of the changes that have occurred. Major findings:

  • 84% of institutions have articulated learning outcomes (74% in 2009);
  • Assessment is primarily driven by external accreditation, with a shift from national HE association to local governing boards, but with regional (HE) and programme (professional) accreditation still heading the list.
  • The average number of assessment tools increased from 3 (2009) to 5 (2013);
  • While external accreditation is still the main driver, internal use of assessment results is becoming more frequent (than before) and perceived as more important (than external use);
  • Assessment is reported to be widely supported within the HE institutions and used internally more often than externally;
  • More selective universities are less active in assessment; and finally
  • Faculty (academics) are key to moving assessment forward.

Document available through
Also relevant in this context is SERU: the Student Experience in the Research University project run from the Center for Studies in Higher Education, with participation i.a. from the Amsterdam University College.

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